How to Fix Desktop Window Manager High CPU (DWM.exe)

When it comes to Windows 10, Desktop Window Manager (DWM.exe) is responsible for 3D animation, high-resolution support, and more. This process runs in the background and takes up a little amount of CPU usage. However, some users complain about experiencing high CPU usage due to this service. If you are facing the same issue here, we explain how to fix Desktop Window Manager High CPU and the reasons causing high GPU on Windows 10.

What is DWM.exe?

DWM.exe, aka Desktop Window Manager executable file, allows Windows to fill visual effects like desktop icons and transparency. Moreover, when Windows components are used, it helps display live thumbnails. This service also comes in handy when external high-resolution displays are used.

tipsAdditional Tip

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How to Fix Desktop Windows Manager High CPU Usage on Windows 10

1. Change Wallpaper

Since DWM.exe for Windows 10 manages visual effects, there’s a possibility that current theme settings are causing high CPU Usage. Hence, to fix the problem, we will first try to change the theme and wallpaper. To do so, follow the steps below:

1. Press Windows + I and click Personalization

Windows Personalization


2. Select Background from the left pane

Select Background from the left paneSelect Background from the left pane

3. Change the current theme & wallpaper from the right pane

Now, see if Desktop Window Manager High CPU (DWM.exe) usage issue is resolved or not.

If this doesn’t work, move to the next step.

2. Disable Screensaver

Alongside taking care of background images and themes, Desktop Windows manager also controls screen saver. After updating to the latest Windows 10, users have reports screensaver settings are consuming High CPU power. Hence, we will need to disable it and check if this helps fix High CPU usage caused due to DWM.exe.

1. Press Windows + S and enter lock screen settings in the search bar > enter

lock screen settings

2. Select and double click the first result. You’ll now be re-directed to the computer’s lock screen settings.

computer’s lock screen settings

3. Scroll down to look for Screen saver settings in the right pane

Screen saver settings

4. If you see a default screensaver active click the downward arrow > select None > Apply > OK.

screensaver setting

Now, check the system for high memory usage caused due to Desktop Window Manager.

3. Scan for malware and other malicious infections

Malware is also one of the reasons responsible for the Desktop Window Manager issue on Windows 10. Hence, we need to scan the system for infections. For this, you can use the best antivirus utility like Systweak Antivirus or can check the list of top security tools for Windows. However, if you are looking for an in-built Windows security tool, try using Windows Defender.

To do so, follow the steps below:

  1. Press Windows + S and type Windows Defender
  2. Select and launch it
  3. In the right pane, you will see scan option > select full scan > Scan. The process might take some time, let it finish.
  4. Once done, restart the system and check if the DWM.exe problem is resolved or not.

4. Remove a specific application

If you are reading this point, it seems the above solution didn’t work. Hence, we suggest you disable SetPoint, OneDrive, and other cloud services to resolve the issue. (We recommend this as these services run in the background and sometimes conflict.) You can give it a try and fix the DWM.exe problem on Windows 10

5. Turn Off Hardware Acceleration for MS Office products.

Sometimes by disabling Hardware Acceleration for MS Office products, you can fix Desktop Window Manager High CPU Usage. To perform this action, follow the steps below:

1. Launch any MS Office Product (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.)

2. Click File > Options


3. One open click, Advanced option > scroll down and look for display option in the right pane

4. Checkmark the option next to Disable hardware graphic acceleration

Disable hardware graphic acceleration

5. Save the setting, restart the PC, and see you should no longer face high CPU due to DWM.exe.

6. Alter Default App Mode

The latest Windows update offers some advanced features using which you can change the default app mode. Sometimes changing the theme can also cause High CPU Usage in Windows 10. To do so, follow the steps below:

1. Press Windows + I > Personalization

2. Colors from the left pane

3. Scroll down and look for Choose your default app mode in the right pane

default app mode

4. Make sure you choose light under default app mode

5. Apply change and restart the PC.

This should help fix Desktop Window Manager 100% CPU Usage on Windows.

1. Run Performance Troubleshooter

2. Press Windows + X > Windows PowerShell (Admin)

3. Type msdt.exe -id MaintenanceDiagnostic and press Enter

4. This will open System Maintenance Troubleshooter > Next. Follow on-screen instructions to run the troubleshooter.

System Maintenance Troubleshooter

5. Once done, restart the PC

6. Now check the PC; you should no longer face the Desktop Window Manager issue.

6. Update Graphic Card

We suggest using the Best driver Updater – Smart Driver Care to update the graphic drivers easily and quickly. This will help get the updated driver in no time. To use it, follow the steps below:

1. Download and install Smart Driver Care.

2. Launch the application.

3. Click Scan on Scan Drivers.

It will run a scan and then show results in a few moments.

4. Once the scan results are displayed, you can select the graphics driver from the list or select all the outdated items.

5. Once done, update all outdated drivers by clicking Update All button.

6. Restart PC to check the DWM.exe issue is resolved.

Alternatively, to update driver manually press Windows + R > type devmgmt.msc > Enter > Display adapter > right click graphic card > Enable > one done right click graphics card > Update Driver Software > Search automatically for updated driver software. Wait for the driver to update.

Using these steps, you can quickly fix Desktop Windows Manager High CPU error on Windows 10. We hope you find the guide useful; however, before we ask you to leave feedback, a few more things.

Is it possible to disable DWM.exe on Windows 10?

No, there is no way to disable Desktop Window Manager in Windows 10. It is an integral part of the OS, and making any changes to it might harm the OS.


Q1. How do I fix DWM.exe? 

If DWM.exe is taking too much CPU resources, try restarting the explorer.exe process or restart the PC. This should help fix the problem you are facing due to Desktop Windows Manager.

Q2. Why does Windows Manager use so much memory?

If you are using multiple screens and system performance is set to default Windows 10. The OS might consume memory resources more than allocated to display things correctly.

Q3. What does the Desktop Window Manager do?

Desktop Window Manager (DWM) enables visual effects on the desktop, such as 3-D windows, animations, Windows Flip, high-resolution support, etc.

Q4. Can I end the Desktop Window Manager?

If you are using Windows XP and Vista, then you can try. But if you are using Windows 10, it is impossible as DWM.exe is a vital part of Windows 10.

So, this is all for now. Do let us know which method you use. Also, we recommend using Advanced PC Cleanup, as this PC cleaner offers various tools to fix all Windows related issues.


  • comment_avtar
    High quality wallpapers can cause the High CPU usage on computer.

    4 years ago

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